Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Benner Patricia RN PhD FAAN
Advances in Nursing Science: December 1991

Two major types of narrative—constitutive or sustaining narratives and narratives of learning—are presented to illustrate the functions of narrative in everyday ethical expertise and socially embedded caring practices. Four narrative themes illustrate constitutive and sustaining narratives: healing and transcendence, the heroic saving of a life, fostering care and correction, and stories of being present. Five themes illustrate narratives of learning: the skill of involvement, being open to experience, disillusionment, facing death and suffering, and liberation. Quandary- and rights-based procedural ethics address ethical problems and breakdown and overlook everyday ethical comportment. Public storytelling is recommended as a way to explore notions of the good and ethical concerns.

© 1991 Aspen Publishers, Inc.